Facebook Will Notify You If The Government Hacks Your Account

Facebook has launched a new feature that notifies users if their accounts have been targeted by government-sponsored hackers.

In a post published on Saturday on the Facebook Security page—which advises the social network's one billion-plus users about how to secure their accounts—Facebook's chief security officer, Alex Stamos said users would be notified "if we believe your account has been targeted or compromised by an attacker suspected of working on behalf of a nation-state."

The notification will advise users to turn on a feature called Login Approvals, which sends them a new security code that must be inputted each time an account is accessed from a new device or browser.

Stamos said that receiving such a notification was not an indication that Facebook's central systems had been compromised but rather that the user's computer or mobile may be infected with malware and should be rebuilt or replaced if possible.

Facebook would not reveal how it attributed certain attacks to state-sponsored actors, Stamos added, but that it would only use the notification system "where the evidence strongly supports our conclusion."

In 2013, ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that intelligence agencies in the U.S. and U.K. were conducting widespread surveillance operations, including the allegation that the U.S. National Security Agency hacked directly into the servers of nine internet firms including Facebook.

North Korea was also accused of state-sponsored hacking after the December 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, which resulted in the personal details of around 6,000 Sony employees being leaked online, as well as information about upcoming films and salaries of the company's top executives. North Korea denied any involvement.

During his recent visit to the U.S., Chinese President Xi Jinping denied that Beijing engages in state-sponsored hacking.